3 Fancy Sewing Machine Techniques

We've had a really busy summer here at Sew Essential, but I've still managed to find time to learn some new embellishment sewing techniques on my sewing machine. They are a brilliant way to add some interesting detail to an otherwise plain and simple garment. More importantly they are super easy to master.



Hi and welcome to the Sew Essential vlog. I hope you're all well? We've had a really busy summer here at Sew Essential, but I've still managed to find time to learn some new sewing techniques. They are a brilliant way to add some interesting detail to an otherwise plain and simple garment. More importantly they are super easy to master.

This is a blouse Angela made using some of these techniques. I will be demonstrating sewing pintucks with a pintuck foot, using a Spanish hem foot and fancy stitches to create these gorgeous little details and also a patented feature of Pfaff machines to embellish your project using ribbon and fancy stitches.

All of the sewing machines and feet mentioned are available on our website and we'll list the links below.

Pintuck Inspiration

The first technique we will be looking at is pintucks. Before I complete the demo I just wanted to share some examples of pintucks on garments with you for a bit of inspiration. You should be able to see some examples on the screen now. They are such a great way to add some pretty, feminine detail to a blouse or top.

There are some sewing patterns designed to accommodate pintucks, but you can easily adapt a standard pattern to accommodate pintucks by increasing the width of your pattern piece. Alternatively you can sew the pintucks into your fabric before you cut it out. Either way a nice simple shell top would be a good place to start.

They are also a great way to decorate bed linen and other home dec items. The White Company love them!

Pintuck Foot

Look at the pintucks on Angela's blouse - note how neat and evenly spaced they are. I also created some samples using a contrasting thread to make it easier for you to see. This is the trick with pintucks and the easiest way to achieve this is with a pintuck foot, which I'm about to demonstrate.

Most brands of machine will have a pintuck foot you can buy. There's a link up on the screen now to our sewing machines accessory page where you can find them. If you can't find what you're looking for just get in touch and we'll be happy to help.

Here's a pintuck foot, as you can see it has little grooves underneath which allow you to create evenly spaced parallel pintucks, which you will see in the video. There is usually a choice between a five groove or seven groove pintuck foot. The seven groove option allows you to create larger quantities of pintucks more easily.

A twin needle is used to create two parallel lines of stitching and we recommend between a 1.6mm and 2mm twin needle. Make sure your machine is on the right setting for a twin needle if applicable. You will also need to adjust the top tension on your sewing machine so it pulls the stitches tighter. As always do a few test runs on some scraps of fabric until you are happy with the results.

Sewing Pintucks

I've got my pintuck foot on the machine and I'm just going to place my fabric under the foot where i want to start sewing the first pintuck. I've put the foot down and now I'm going to go ahead and sew.

I've created the length of pintuck required so now I'll remove the fabric from the machine. As I mentioned earlier i've used a contrasting thread so it is easier for you to see. See the way the increased thread tension has gathered the fabric between the stitching lines to create the pintuck.

Now I'm going to place the pintuck I've created under one of the grooves on the pintuck foot. Then I simply start stitching to create the next pintuck making sure the previous pintuck remains in the groove.

When I remove the fabric you can see I have two neat, evenly spaced parallel pintucks. I'll just show you this way around too so you can see clearly.

I positioned the last pintuck to the right of the original one. If I want to create one to the left of the original one I simply use the groove on the other side of the foot. Placing it over the original pintuck then stitching away.

And that's it, simple!

The Spanish Hem Foot

Here is another gorgeous way to customise your sewing projects, using a Spanish hem foot and fancy stitches.

Here is a sample I've made. As you can see you create a small gap in the fabric by slashing it and remembering to allow enough fabric for a 1/2" seam allowance each side. Then you use the Spanish hem foot to maintain an even gap between the fabric pieces whilst using fancy stitches to bridge the gap.

As for the pintucks you can customise the fabric first then cut out your pattern if you find it easier.

Spanish hem feet are available for a range of machines. If you can't find what you're looking for on our website just give us a shout and we'll be happy to help.

This Spanish hem foot comes in two parts. This bit clicks into place on the needle plate and then you attach the other part to the machine as normal.

You will need to set your stitch width wider than usual to bridge the gap in the fabric. We used a stitch width of about seven, but as always experiment until you're happy. Embroidery thread will also work better than a standard thread for the fancy stitches.

Here's a little video to demonstrate it in action and as always do test on scraps of fabric first.

Sewing with a Spanish Hem Foot

I've attached the foot to the machine and the other part to the needle plate.

As you can see I've pressed the seam allowances under. Then I'm going to position the pieces of fabric either side of the metal part on the needle plate. I've taken care to make sure the fabric is positioned correctly for when I start stitching, down slightly from the raw edge.

Then I'm going to stitch feeding the fabric through evenly making sure it stays butted up against the metal part on either side.

You can the results are really pretty. You can work with different fancy stitches to create a range of looks.

Embellishing with Ribbon Stitches

The final technique I'm going to demonstrate is a patented feature on Pfaff machines. Even if you don't have a Pfaff machine it is interesting to see how it works (I hope!)

I used the Pfaff Creative 4.5 embroidery machine to demonstrate this feature, but it is also available on the Pfaff Sensation Pro embroidery machine and Pfaff performance 5.2 sewing machines.

Here is the example from my demonstration and you can also see the effect here on Angela's blouse.

There is an option for ribbon stitches with a range of stitches to choose from. As always test on scraps of fabric first and we recommend using ribbon that is 5-6mm wide.

The machine tells you which foot to use and as you can see it stitches out a sequence then stops so that you can position the ribbon. You position the ribbon at 45 degrees across the needle then stitch. When the machine stops you fold the ribbon over to position it at 45 degrees in the opposite direction.

Have fun sewing!


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